Herwarth Walden

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Herwarth Walden (1910)

Herwarth Walden (actually Georg Lewin ; born September 16, 1878 in Berlin ; † October 31, 1941 with Saratow ) was a German writer, publisher, gallery owner, musician and composer. Walden was one of the most important promoters of the German avant-garde of the early 20th century ( Expressionism , Futurism , Dadaism , New Objectivity ). In 1910 he founded the magazine Der Sturm , which existed until 1932. From 1912 he ran the Sturm Gallery; under his direction, the exhibition of the First German Autumn Salon took place in Berlin in 1913 . The poet Else Lasker-Schüler was his first wife.


Berlin memorial plaque on house Katharinenstrasse 5 for Walden and Lasker students in Berlin-Wilmersdorf
Emil Orlik : Pencil and pen drawing by Herwarth Walden, undated

Georg Lewin, who came from a wealthy Jewish family, studied composition and piano in Berlin and Florence in his youth. His musical talent and the artistic training he had chosen distanced him from the upper-class world of his parents' house at an early age. He wrote poetry and prose and was a critic for literature , music and art . In 1903 he founded the "Association for Art", which in the following years included a large number of important writers such as Heinrich and Thomas Mann , Frank Wedekind , Rainer Maria Rilke , Richard Dehmel , Alfred Döblin and Else Lasker-Schüler .

Lewin and Else Lasker-Schüler married on November 30, 1903. The marriage ended in divorce in 1912. At the suggestion of Lasker-Schülers, Lewin chose “Herwarth Walden” as a pseudonym, based on Henry Thoreau's novel Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854).

The magazine Der Sturm

Der Sturm, 17th year, August 1926, 5th issue

From 1910 to 1932 Walden published the magazine Der Sturm , which he founded together with Alfred Döblin and which was one of the most important publications of Expressionism. The literary collaborators included Peter Altenberg , Max Brod , Richard Dehmel , Anatole France , Knut Hamsun , Arno Holz , Karl Kraus , Selma Lagerlöf , Adolf Loos , Heinrich Mann , Otto Nebel , Paul Scheerbart , René Schickele , August Stramm . In 1910, Oskar Kokoschka came to Berlin at Walden's suggestion and worked on the magazine. A large-format portrait of Walden, which Kokoschka painted in the same year, is now in the State Gallery in Stuttgart .

The storm gallery and other activities

John Jon-And: Herwarth and Nell Walden , Indian ink (before 1924)

In 1912 Walden and the Swede Nell Roslund married . In the following years he worked increasingly as a gallery owner. So he ran the Sturm Gallery, in which from 1912 pictures of the Blue Rider and Italian Futurism were on view. He discovered and promoted new talents such as Georg Schrimpf and Maria Uhden .

Exhibition catalog, 1913

As a contrast to the Sonderbund exhibition, which was organized in Cologne in 1912, the exhibition of modern art organized by Walden at the First German Autumn Salon took place at Potsdamer Strasse 75 from April 2, 1913 to December 1, 1913 , not far from his gallery "Der Sturm" at Potsdamer Strasse 134 a.

After the outbreak of war in 1914, Nell Walden worked thanks to her Scandinavian language skills for the "news office Der Sturm", which worked for various German intelligence services in the Nordic countries and in the Netherlands and formed the financial basis for the Sturm company during the war. For the later constructivist Thilo Maatsch , a visit to a Sturm exhibition in 1916 was the key event in turning to painting; his works were shown there in 1927.

In 1916, in the avant-garde spirit of the magazine Der Sturm , Walden founded the Sturm Art School and organized Sturm Evenings where Sturm artists presented their poems. The following year he opened a Sturm bookstore, which was followed in 1918 by the Sturm-Bühne and the magazine of the same name. They were intended to promote expressionist theatrical art.

In 1918 Walden became a member of the KPD . A year later he donated the Walden art collection to his wife. Herwarth Walden and Nell Roslund divorced in 1924 because she did not agree with his turn to communism. Two years later he married a Russian woman who died of tuberculosis in 1930.

Exile in Moscow

In view of the rising National Socialism , he left Germany with the translator Ellen Bork in 1932 and went to Moscow , where they married. He worked there as a teacher and publicist. However, his sympathies for the avant-garde quickly aroused the suspicion of the Soviet government under Stalinism . In 1933 the daughter Sina Walden was born.

In 1941 Walden was imprisoned. His wife and daughter sought refuge at the German embassy and then returned to Berlin. Walden died on October 31, 1941 in a Soviet prison near Saratov. Sina Walden only received the determination of the time of his death in 1966 after a visit to Moscow.


  • The storm (magazine, 1910-1932)
  • Dafnislieder for voice and piano (1910)
  • The Book of Philanthropy (novel, 1916)
  • The hardness of world love (novel, 1917)
  • Insight into art. Expressionism, Futurism, Cubism. (Essays, 1917)
  • The conceptual in poetry (essay, 1918)
  • Child (drama, 1918)
  • People (drama, 1918) ( digitized )
  • Under the senses (novel, 1919)
  • The new painting (essays, 1920)
  • Faith (Drama, 1920)
  • Sin (drama, 1920)
  • The Two (Drama, 1920)
  • First love (drama, 1920)
  • Last Love (Drama, 1920)
  • In the silence of love (poems, 1925)
  • Chalk cliffs Rügen (oil painting, 1937)
  • Vulgar Expressionism (Essay, 1938)


Nell Walden: Herwarth Walden. A picture of life (1963)
  • Nell Walden: Herwarth Walden. A picture of life . Kupferberg, Berlin-Mainz 1963.
  • Ursula Peters : Modern times. The 20th Century Collection. In collaboration with Andrea Legde. Verlag des Germanisches Nationalmuseums, Nürnberg 2000, ISBN 3-926982-61-6 , ( cultural-historical walks in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum vol. 3), esp. Pp. 11–120 passim, esp. 61ff.
  • Barbara Alms , Wiebke Steinmetz (ed.): The storm. Chagall, Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Klee, Kokoschka, Macke, Marc, Schwitters and many others in Berlin in the decade. Hauschild, Bremen 2000, ISBN 3-89757-052-1 , (exhibition catalog: Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst Haus Coburg, Stuckenberg Collection June 18 to September 6, 2000), in particular pp. 15–43 (Barbara Alms), 35–45 (Anita Beloubek-Hammer), 82–90 (Anna-Carola Krauße).
  • Leo Ikelaar (Hg): Scheerbart's letters from 1913/14 to Gottfried Heinersdorff , Bruno Taut and Herwarth Walden. Igel, Paderborn 1999. ISBN 3-89621-037-8 .
  • Karl Kraus, Herwarth Walden: Enemies in droves. A real pleasure to be there. Correspondence 1909-1912 . Edited by George C. Avery. Wallstein, Göttingen 2002. ISBN 3-89244-613-X .
  • Robert Hodonyi: Paul Scheerbart (1863–1915) and Herwarth Walden's magazine Der Sturm - On the Dialogue of the Arts in Berlin Modernism around 1900. In: Else-Lasker-Schüler-Jahrbuch der Klassischen Moderne 4th ed. Lothar Bluhm and Andreas Meier. WVT, Trier 2010, pp. 65-90.
  • Robert Hodonyi: Rudolf Olden - Herwarth Walden. Correspondence 1937–1939. In: Rudolf Olden. Journalist against Hitler - lawyer for the republic. An exhibition about the lawyer and publicist Rudolf Olden (1885–1940) in the German National Library Frankfurt a. M. (March 25, 2010 to July 28, 2010). Catalog book. Eds. Sylvia Asmus and Brita Eckert. Frankfurt am Main 2010, pp. 69–82.
  • Petra Jenny Vock: “The storm must roar in this dead world” - Herwarth Walden's 'Sturm' and the lyric poets of the 'Sturm' circle during the First World War. Art program and war poetry of an expressionist magazine in context . WVT, Trier 2006 ISBN 978-3-88476-825-9
  • Walden, Herwarth . In: Hermann Weber , Andreas Herbst : German Communists. Biographisches Handbuch 1918 to 1945. 2nd, revised and greatly expanded edition. Karl Dietz Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-320-02130-6 .

Web links

Commons : Herwarth Walden  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Herwarth Walden  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Bernd Klüser, Katharina Hegewisch (Hrsg.): The art of the exhibition. A documentation of thirty exemplary art exhibitions of this century , p. 56
  2. Portrait of Herwarth Walden , oil on canvas, 100 cm × 69.3 cm, inv. 2749 ( digital collection of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart ).
  3. Hubert van den Berg: Sometimes too much, sometimes too little monument , literaturkritik.de, accessed on July 4, 2013
  4. a b biography of the exhibition Der Sturm 2010 at the Kunstmuseum Olten
  5. Walden, Herwarth . In: Hermann Weber, Andreas Herbst: German Communists. Biographical Handbook 1918 to 1945.